Stephen King has been seeing a resurgence as of late. Many of the iconic horror author’s works are getting new TV adaptations. 2016 saw “11.22.63” on Hulu and 2017 saw “The Mist” on Spike and we’re still due for R…
Stephen King has been seeing a resurgence as of late. Many of the iconic horror author’s works are getting new TV adaptations. 2016 saw “11.22.63” on Hulu and 2017 saw “The Mist” on Spike and we’re still due for “Castle Rock,” an original story that takes place within the King multiverse. In honor of all these adaptations, we looked back at all the King works (original screenplays not included) that have made their way to television, sometimes with horrifying results.
That’s right, arguably one of the most iconic of Stephen King adaptations was actually on TV. An edited version of “It” became the movie most people remember it as, but the original four-hour two-parter is well worth checking out.
Syfy’s sci-fi drama didn’t have much to do with the King novella “The Colorado Kid” beyond introducing a character by the same name, but fans fell for the tale of Audrey Parker and her attempts to help the unwittingly superpowered residents of Haven, Maine anyway. The show ran for five seasons and Haven became a reference and setting in future King stories.
JJ Abrams and Hulu mounted a mostly straightforward adapation of King’s alternate history time-travel tale involving the assassination of JFK. Given those parameters, they probably could have stood to take a few more risks.
“Dead Zone” (2002-2007)
The episodic crime procedural starring Anthony Michael Hall ran for six seasons on USA. It’s nothing special, but it’s digestible and manages to stretch its thin premise of a psychic solving crimes into a quest to avert the apocalypse, so that must count for something.
“The Shining” (1997)
ABC’s miniseries adaptation of King’s novel should be considered brave at the very least, comparisons to Stanly Kubrick’s iconic movie all but inevitable. If you ask King though, he would tell you the miniseries is much more faithful to his original vision.
“Under the Dome” (2013-2015)
CBS’ adaptation of King’s novel about a town that suddenly finds itself under a giant glass dome started off well enough, but as the seasons went on, the show got weirder, seemingly without direction and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who cared about why Chester’s Mill ended up under a dome or if its residents would ever escape, by the end.
“The Stand” (1994)
It’s not easy to adapt one of King’s most beloved and sprawling novels that tackles the very essence of good vs. evil, but ABC mostly succeeded in their four-night event.
“The Mist” (2017 – ?)
At the time of this writing, the show has only just premiered on Spike TV. While it only borrows themes and premise from the King novella, it does work to create the same foggy and unknown atmosphere (pun intended). If only the writing was a little better and the violence worked on more levels beyond providing shock.
“The Tommyknockers” (1993)
It’s not all that creepy, but it’s almost a perfect culmination of King tropes: from secret aliens, to psychic powers, to small town life gone awry. That all kind of leads to a basic script, which is elevated by performances from a great cast featuring Jimmy Smits and Robert Carradine.
“Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King” (2006)
The eight-part miniseries adapted short stories from some of King’s collections. It features some incredible actors and performances from William Hurt and William H. Macy and is a solid adaptation of the ones in question. However, none of the stories are standouts to begin with, even if most of them are above average in quality, so the miniseries suffered the same fate.
“Bag of Bones” (2011)
A&E tried to bring back the grand old tradition of Stephen King miniseries adaptations in 2011 with a new take on “Bag of Bones,” but the Pierce Brosnan-led two-parter just ended up being mostly forgettable.
You’d think with a screenplay by Bryan Fuller (!), this TV movie, which was intended as a backdoor pilot for a “Carrie” series, would’ve been worthwhile. Unfortunately, it lacked what made the film version of King’s book such a classic, going for low-key, quiet performances instead of the insane, over-the-top setup of the original.
“The Langoliers” (1995)
It’s mostly known nowadays for its disappointing and hilarious visual effects, and is also mostly boring, but the story of people who realize they are the only ones left on a plane is almost worth watching for that end reveal.
Related stories from TheWrap:
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Every Stephen King Easter Egg in 'The Dark Tower' (Photos)
James McAvoy Photos From 'IT: Chapter 2' Suggest More to the Kids' Story
'Castle Rock' Just Explained Why So Many Stephen King Stories Happen There